Director: Christian Viel
In the Ireland hills, a group of American teen tourists and a slew of random porn stars run into a glutton cannibal with a sweet tooth for flesh. One by one, they are imminently turned into TV dinners while huge tits, Richard Grieco, blood, guts and disembowelments grace the screen! YIPPEE!
"Samhain" was supposed to give us a genre jolt in October of 2002, but it never rose from its tomb. Why? Well, the horror behind the film was more terrifying than the actual carnage that’s in it. During the shoot, professional rod eater (hey…that’s what she does) Chasey Lain was a drugged-up spoke in the wheel, a washed-up star (guess who) acted like a Primadonna, bad weather conditions caused problems, born-again Christian groups with nothing better to do picketed the shoot and Wall-Mart actually refused to develop pictures of sweetie Jenna Jameson’s nude make-up tests, delaying the whole affair.
But the "Samhain" curse didn’t end there. Once the flick was done with its post-production, there were some legal conflicts with the film’s producers which led to a freeze on the film’s release. Last I heard, the distributors now wanted to chop the gore out of the film (great idea, morons) and re-shoot the daring ending with another director for its eventual release (pussies). I was lucky enough to run into an old friend who happened to have worked on the production. He had a rough cut of the film at his pad and after getting him real drunk with a cheap bottle of “Wild Turkey”, he not only hooked me up with his ex-wife’s daughter (don’t ask), but he also lent me the movie. Aaaaahhh, the magic of alcohol. Not only can it turn butt ugly chicks into beauty queens, but it can also have you see genre efforts that you’re not supposed to see. Gotta love it! Now on with the show!
Where "Samhain" hit its ball out of the park and then some was in its mucho abundance of exploitation goodies. This unrepentant bad boy sported everything slasher fans crave. You like your gore so over-the-top it’s funny in a "Dead Alive" kind of way? Well, wait till you see some poor schlep get his innards pulled out of his anus to then be chocked with them here. I was rolling on the floor with that one! You like your gore nasty and brutal? Well, witness Miss Jenna “peach-like twat” Jameson get carved up and hollowed out like a Christmas turkey, balloon tits out for a breather and all. Thankfully not only was the explicit slosh expertly put out by effect dude Adrian Morot and his team, but the uglier than my last one-night lead creature also looked damn freaky. Good job, guys!
And what about female flesh, you may ask? Who wants some? I do! I do! Sprinkling porn stars into this tomato soup was a marvelous idea for the primary reason that they have no problem showing off their goodies. Breasts, kitties, booties, more breasts; all the major food groups were covered here by Chef Viel. That was some FINE CUISINE CHEF! WHERE’S THE DESSERT? More good news in the kitchen: amidst all the red messes and humongous ta-tas, "Samhain" also slyly displayed a biting sense of humor that gave the whole affair an extra “fun” layer. It was obvious to me that Viel didn’t take all of this seriously, even when it came to the no-holds barred violence. We’re treated to some pretty kooky bits throughout this slaughter ride with my favorite moment having the cannibal trying to eat a silicone breast paddy to no avail. Funny ass shite!
In the acting department, I must prop the casting director on this one because any interest that I had in some of the characters were directly related to the actors’ charisma and presence (Gillian Leigh had me at “hello”). It surely wasn’t the script that helped make them interesting “victims” to know. I was also surprised at just how decent the porn stars’ performances were. I guess swallowing loads beats acting workshops in terms of acquiring onscreen skills. Apart from the obviously-high-as-a-kite Chasey Lain who got out-acted by the plastic dummy that doubled for her, all of the ”sexpert” ladies came through and were, at times, better then the “legit” thespians on hand. Somebody give Jenna Jameson an Oscar already! Not only can she give head like a Hoover, but she can also act! Now that’s a woman! Can Meryl Streep claim the same? I think not.
Which brings me to the film’s bad meat. First off, we had way too many characters in here. None of them were emphasized upon enough and they were all flimsily written, even by slasher standards. Lucky for me, they were mostly good looking...which helped! The story behind the madness also didn’t leave a strong enough impact on me. Apart from a twisted flashback, the film’s attempts at fleshing its substance via show-stopping and groan inducing moments of “Spelling B” exposition pissed me off. Was that shite tacked on or something? Sure felt like it was. Whiff…whiff…I smell bullshit. It’s a movie about a killer cannibal and dead porn stars. COME ON! THAT’S ALL I NEEDED TO KNOW!
But Samhain’s most grating torn it its ass was that it surfed the 1986 “Scream” wave by referencing other horror movies “a la Kevin Williamson”, lifting exact dialogue segments off "Scream" (that’s called stealing) and nodding “Halloween” way too many times (we get it, you dig the flick). All that excess baggage was distracting and negated the 70’s like feel that the flick had. Lastly, we had two token characters that didn’t expire fast enough for my liking. The first was an overly childish “Randy”-like character (again… Scream) named Steve (Price) who spat out played-out crap like “What’s your favorite scary movie? I soooo wanted to deck that guy! The second was that grating “Pop goes the weasel” caretaker (Peacock) who, of course, warned the kids and vomited snooze-inducing expositional dialogue non-stop. If I ever hear “Stay clear of the path” one more time in my lifetime...I’m going to kill everybody that works at my local McDonalds.
But on the whole, "Samhain" wound up being an entertaining watch…and it was a rough cut! The film was adequatelyshot, sported some nifty locations (loved the castle and the creature’s lair) and delivered a last block that ran over my skull with non-stop carnage! Ginger Lynn kickboxing some cannibal ass (fun times), a sicko cap-off involving hottie Taylor Hayes in a cameo and more! I can just imagine what the real cut could be like if not urinated on by the distribution company. CAN SOMEBODY RELEASE THIS ONE THE WAY IT SHOULD ALREADY!
The red Mayo was thickly laid over this slice of death by Adrian Morot and his Maestro FX, team. We get a torso with guts and a beating heart spilling out, we get severed limbs, severed heads, a sweet beheading by wire, stabbings, a torso on a stick, an axe in the head, a knife in the mouth, a pitchfork in the back, some messy cannibals munching down and a guy getting his insides pulled out of his ass. IT WAS A RED WET AND WILD JAMBOREE!
Bobbie Phillips (Karen) was the strongest actor here giving a natural and endearing performance. Richard Grieco (Mark) underplayed it and let his hair take the role to the next level. Chasey Lain (Amy) died well. Porn stars Jenna Jameson (Jenny) and Ginger Lynn Allen (Pandora) both truly surprised me with their bang-on deliveries. I guess there’s something to be said about sucking cock for a living after all. Ginger Lynn’s Irish accent was weak though. Gillian Leigh (Barbara) oozed of charisma while Brandi-Ann Milbradt (Shae) sported some solid acting chops. Neil Napier (Jim) did what he had to do well. Porn actress Taylor Hayes showed up for a disturbing nude cameo! I bought it! Phil Price (Steve) grated the shit out of me, but to be fair to him, his character was written that way. Simon Peacock (Gary) put out a decent Irish accent, but his role also rubbed me the wrong way. SHAT UP BOTH OF YOU!
T & A
In the “Female Goodies” corner, we get Chasey Lain revealing her used up tits and ass, gorgeous Gillian Leigh going nude for a shower scene, cutie Jenna Jameson going fully nude (pussy included) and Taylor Hayes going fully nude during one sicko moment. In the “Male Goodies” corner, the ladies get a shirtless Richard Grieco and Phil Price’s white ass doing some pumping.
Random choppyness aside (Due to it being a rough cut?), Viel served up slick angles, kool tracking shots, clever scene transitions a strong handle on his suspense and a talented milking of his settings. Good stuff!!
This was a rough cut and the score was a “temp” one, so I won’t cover it.
Samhain’s story and characters were beneath pedestrian. Nothing to see on those levels. But the film was still a hoot due to its emphasis on what counts for a film of its ilk: competent directing, wild gore, cheap chuckles, good old-fashioned female tits and smack down asses. If handled properly by the distributors, "Samhain" could turn out to be a top-notch horror party movie rivaling "Night of the Demons" (one of my top horror party movies). This whole talk of cutting out the gore is for the birds and, in my opinion, would murder the film. Are you seeing planes, Mr. Distributor? Is your name Tattoo? Because I swear you must be living on a Fantasy Island if you think cutting the violence out of "Samhain" is a good idea. It's one of its main legs! DON’T AMPUTATE THE MOVIE! Hopefully when you see "Samhain", it will have its gore intact. Man, I crave for the day when producers and distributors will leave the filmmaking to the filmmakers. Yes…I have a dream.
FANGORIA and Hart Sharp are aiming to release SAMHAIN in the United States and Canada. If they're smart, they'll keep the gore and the nudity in.
The flick was shot on 35mm.
Effect man Adrian Morot was also responsible for effects in "Battlefield Earth" and "The Bone Collector".
Christian Viel’s next film is the Space Marines Vs. various aliens opus “Power Corps” (in which I have a small part).
Jenna Jameson has a really nice peach down there. Damn! When’s lunch?